These are seven of the best cryptos on the market.
It has been over a decade since the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, the first and by far most popular form of cryptocurrency in the world. Despite its fame, Bitcoin isn’t the final word on cryptocurrency — imitators, innovators and spinoffs have emerged in huge numbers, and there are more than 7,000 cryptocurrencies on the market today. With such a broad range of cryptocurrencies to choose from, how do investors know which is the best cryptocurrency to invest in? From the most popular cryptocurrencies making headlines around the globe to lesser-known digital currencies you may never have heard of, here are seven of the best cryptocurrencies to buy in 2020.
The closest thing you’ll get to a blue-chip cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has dominated the market since the first bitcoins were mined in January 2009 — but that doesn’t mean it has always been smooth sailing. Bitcoin prices hit a high of nearly $20,000 in December 2017 before collapsing in 2018, bottoming out at $3,234 by the end of that year. Since then, however, Bitcoin has enjoyed something of a comeback as prices have risen back to more than $10,000, and with a market cap around $200 billion, bitcoins account for more than 57% of the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin has its fair share of volatility, but being the biggest name in crypto gives it a worldwide acceptance that lesser-known rivals don’t have, arguably making it the best cryptocurrency to buy for investors new to the asset class.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are predicated on blockchain technology, which stores information about crypto transactions within “blocks” of data that can contain 1 megabyte of data. As the currency grew more popular, these data blocks filled up, slowing down bitcoin transactions and increasing transaction fees. Some Bitcoin developers proposed a solution that would effectively reduce the amount of data needed in each block, but others believed this would compromise the integrity of the cryptocurrency — so they created their own version of Bitcoin in August 2017 and called it Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash has blocks that can store 8MB of data, allowing for faster and more frequent transactions with lower fees. Bitcoin Cash may be newer and less popular than its predecessor, but its scalability means it has incredible potential for growth and puts it in the running for best cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies tend to seem obscure and complex to those who don’t understand the underlying technology, but Litecoin was created to help fix that. In fact, founder Charlie Lee wanted to create the “lite” version of Bitcoin and develop a cryptocurrency that could play the role of “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.” Lee did just that with Litecoin in 2011, creating a cryptocurrency that adopted many of the best features of Bitcoin with some twists. For instance, while bitcoin transactions take about 10 minutes to confirm, litecoin transactions are far faster, taking under three minutes. In addition, while it takes specialized hardware and impressive raw computing power for users to mine bitcoin, Litecoin has much lower system requirements — in fact, ordinary PCs are capable of mining for it. Faster and easier is a powerful combination for users and investors alike.
One of the main philosophies behind cryptocurrencies is the decentralization of currency. Ethereum takes that a step further — rather than decentralizing money, Ethereum’s goal is to decentralize the internet by replacing servers with a worldwide system of nodes, creating “one computer for the entire world.” Ethereum is a software platform based off blockchain technology in which users can exchange a cryptocurrency called ether. Ether has become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world, with a market cap around $40 billion that puts it second only to Bitcoin in market share. But the real draw is the platform itself, which has become wildly popular as a host for other cryptocurrencies — in other words, not only do investors profit from one of the best and most popular cryptocurrencies on the market, but also from the wider uses of Ethereum itself.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Like Ethereum, Binance Coin is much more than a cryptocurrency — as a matter of fact, Binance Coin was originally hosted on Ethereum until the Binance decentralized exchange, or DEX, went online in 2017. The Binance DEX is a platform much like Ethereum, albeit with a different mission. The Binance DEX is a decentralized platform where users can not only buy and sell binance coins, but can also use BNB to convert other cryptocurrencies from one to another. This has made the Binance DEX the biggest cryptocurrency exchange on the planet by volume and has helped fuel the popularity of the digital asset. Most importantly, the Binance DEX offers a discount to users who pay transaction fees on the exchange with BNB — a smart strategy that keeps users on the platform and helps sustain Binance Coin’s growth.
This has been a year of extreme upheaval for the entertainment industry, leaving it ripe for disruption. This is exactly the sort of opportunity the founders of Tron must have been hoping for when they built a decentralized, blockchain-based platform for sharing content. Whereas many of the biggest entertainment companies in the world profit from gathering and selling data about their users, using Tron leaves no such footprints behind. While it protects users, Tron also allows creators to monetize their content directly via Tronix, Tron’s form of cryptocurrency. The platform has gained fame and notoriety in equal measure over the last few years due to the antics of Tron Foundation founder Justin Sun, but no matter how you feel about him, it’s undeniable that Tron is an ambitious idea — and while it isn’t going to overthrow Netflix (ticker: NFLX) tomorrow, it is an excellent speculative investment.
The Ethereum platform is predicated on smart contracts, or agreements between two parties on a blockchain network with the transaction recorded in blocks of data. The problem is that these transactions can only occur on a platform like Ethereum, and they need some way to draw real-world data into the platform in order to execute smart contracts when certain conditions are met. The solution is data providers called oracles, and while several crypto platforms have created ways for oracles to retrieve data for their network, Chainlink has come up with a reputation system that guarantees the data is accurate, ensuring the validity of smart contracts — and once an oracle’s data is verified, they are paid with Link, Chainlink’s cryptocurrency of choice. This system builds confidence in the platform, and the growing popularity of decentralized finance, or DeFi, helps make Link a contender for best cryptocurrency.
Seven contenders for the best crypto to buy for 2020:
— Bitcoin (BTC)
— Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
— Litecoin (LTC)
— Ethereum (ETH)
— Binance Coin (BNB)
— Tron (TRX)
— Chainlink (LINK)
Mark Reeth is a contributing writer for U.S. News & World Report, where he writes about anything and everything to do with investing. Prior to U.S. News, Mark covered consumer goods, technology, and telecom stocks for The Motley Fool. When he’s not writing about investment strategies Mark is busy running his own small business, which has given him a better appreciation of the personal finance trials and tribulations of entrepreneurs everywhere.